With all of the variables that can affect a website and impact search engine rankings, organic search engine optimization has inherent benchmarks used to determine how and what type of sites rank higher with SEO.
Optimization is about using best practices that coincide with site structure, internal /external linking and aspects of coding that streamline a websites performance. It is the collective / aggregate sum of the fine-tuning performed that produce the results that catapult pages into multiple top10 positions.
As a preface, each website has a keyword / SEO ceiling which is based on its present state. That present state is yet another fulcrum that holds the potential for growth, but you must start where you are at if you are approaching search engine optimization after the fact.
A new site going after the most competitive keywords is like a rookie trying to walk into a professional arena and compete with the best of the best. Think of SEO like a training regiment designed to provide your website with the proper orientation and techniques to overcome obstacles that impede your ability to compete.
Time is on the side of older websites that started before you, chronology and pecking order matter, which means you will have to work even harder to play catch up for most of the components they performed months or years in advance.
If any site could just retool itself with modifications and take the most competitive keywords in an industry, then everyone would be in the top 10. Fortunately, based on Google’s algorithmic guidelines, there is only room for the most relevant result gleaned from over 200 distinct criteria.
Rather than getting sidetracked with the arduous task of looking at the fundamentals that impact rankings layer by layer. Overcoming the prime directive of search engines (to return the most trusted, referenced and informative result) is really a matter of appealing to its intentional duty (to index, summarize and share).
Say for example you have a website, you never really thought about SEO, then after noticing one of your competitors ranking for virtually dozens of the most competitive phrases for your industry. After piquing you interest, upon initial inspection, nothing seems out of the ordinary, but you start to wonder what they are doing, that you are not, chances are it is SEO.
This is why thousands businesses are now interested in SEO, because the see the impact of a finely tuned website running laps around their site which for lack of better words is simply to clunky to appeal to search engines.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, however often there is only so much you can do within a given time line to produce results (if you are not open to change).
Things such as:
- the volume of content your website has on a topic (the number of pages)
- how relevant those pages are (are they vague or refined)
- are the pages internally linked together to create a cumulative effect?
- is their sufficient navigation sitemaps and links to allow spiders to crawl the site?
Much like wanting to make your car go faster and handle better, certain modifications must be made to customize or fine tune the cars performance. Similarly websites are no different and wishful thinking is not enough.
After you have a refined CMS (content management system) then create content with purpose based on stable site architecture over time and build links, exposure and trust to expedite rankings.
On the other hand, you can try to retool what you have and make the best of an unoptimized situation. In the event that you are tied to another platform, you can always introduce a content management system partially (in a sub folder) and use it to bring up the other layers of the site as an SEO beacon.
In a perfect world, the most effective way to approach SEO would be, to start with the goal in mind, have a budget in place to scale the result (the more competitive the keywords the longer the time period) and build a powerhouse site over the course of 8 moths to a year.
The reason you need time is, in order to acquire all of the right signals (rites of passage otherwise known as search engine trust) from search engines and other authority or hub sites. Once your site starts scaling attainable keywords based on its authority up to that point, then you can set your sights higher for fruit that is further up the tree.
A website that has never applied SEO for example may have combined certain aspects of optimization unintentionally and acquired moderate rankings for a few phrases. The goal however is to be able to craft your content, call to action and on page factors to translate into multiple top 10 rankings for intentional optimization as well as funnel broad match traffic to your pages.
Going after keywords outside of your reach is an exercise in futility. Build internal site equity instead, leverage the authority your website is capable of, but set new pages and plans in motion to capture a larger share of the market.
The suggestion is to accrue stable links from sites already ranking in the top 10 or capable of doing so, polish your site architecture and on page factors and get some moderately competitive keywords under your belt.
When those produce and yield traffic, measure their impact and if you like the result, then start working on related content, keywords and key phrases (within your reach) until your site has matured enough to acquire the more competitive keyword variations.
The moral of the post is, to reach the goal, you have to start somewhere. Competition is not going to just lay down and let you blaze a path to the most competitive phrases that have dollars attached to the people using them to find products and services.
It’s not a matter of if you must act or not, just when and how long it will take depending on your approach, but at least with this in mind, it’s not to late to request a proposal to see exactly where your site is on the totem pole of organic search.